June 22nd, 2009 |
Looking for a new idea for your next cocktail party? Embrace the outdoors and invite your neighbors over for a Cocktails & Croquet party. Full of festive drinks, appetizers and lawn games – this party is sure to create a little friendly competition!
Set up activities in your lawn such as croquet, bocce ball and badminton. Separate the areas with decorations, such as different colored paper lanterns hanging above in the trees, or decorative signs announcing the game. Set up two separate bars – one of festive drinks, one of delicious summer appetizers.
For the drinks, offer both alcoholic and non-alcoholic options. I recommend a pitcher of margaritas and some white wine. For the non-alcoholic bunch, offer iced tea and a frozen lemonade with blackberry puree served in glass drink dispensers. These are perfect for encouraging your guests to self-serve – and are sure to become a staple at all of your summer parties. Don’t forget the acrylic glassware (made to resist breaking, chipping and cracking)!
Since your guests will be occupied with competition, set up a buffet of summer appetizers that are easy to grab in between plays. Some of my new favorites – caprese bites, brochettes of melon, prosciutto and mozzarella, crab cakes with a garlic-chive dipping sauce, and feta cheese truffles. Is your mouth watering yet?!
For the hostess who is always looking for a new take on an old classic – this party is for you! Let the games begin!
Images: croquet clubs and action shot (inmagine.com), red drinks (styleathome.com), colorful lanterns (mintsdesign.com), yellow centerpiece (theknot.com)
June 21st, 2009 |
• 1 bottle dry white wine
• ¾ cup watermelon schnapps
• ½ cup white cranberry juice
• 2 cups freshly scooped watermelon balls
• 2 limes, cut into half-wheels
Combine all of the ingredients in a large ceramic or glass container and stir well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Serve over ice. Serves about 7.
Recipe via PointClickHome.com
June 20th, 2009 |
Make dessert your easiest course with this simple idea from Rachael Ray:
- 1 cup sour cream
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- Grated peel and juice of 1 lemon
- 1/4 pound fresh cherries, halved, plus 10 whole for garnish
- 1 pint mixed berries (blackberries, blueberries, raspberries)
- 6 ounces milk or dark chocolate
- 20 sugar cones
- In a small bowl, combine the sour cream, 3 tablespoons sugar, 1 teaspoon lemon juice and the lemon peel. Mix well and refrigerate.
- In a medium bowl, toss the halved cherries and mixed berries with the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar and 1 to 2 teaspoons lemon juice. Refrigerate.
- Break the chocolate into small pieces and place in a microwaveable bowl. Microwave on high, 20 to 30 seconds at a time, until the chocolate just starts to melt. Stir until smooth. Using a pastry brush, paint the inside of the cones with the melted chocolate. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and refrigerate until the chocolate hardens, about 15 minutes.
- To serve, stand the sugar cones in narrow glasses. Place a dollop of the sour cream mixture in each cone, then fill with the mixed berries. Top with another dollop of sour cream and garnish with a whole cherry.
Try skinny shot glasses or Champagne flutes to help the sugar cones stand upright!
June 18th, 2009 |
Summertime table settings should be as relaxed and carefree as the season itself. The summer invites alfresco meals—from breakfasts on the porch to poolside cocktails and patio dinners. These great tips from Williams Sonoma will help you create stylish table settings for the entire season.
To simplify planning your settings, include pieces in your tableware collection that can serve more than one function. Earthenware pasta bowls are wonderful for pasta, risotto and polenta as well as for salads and gazpacho. Dipping bowls are another summertime staple for presenting fine olive oils, vinegars and condiments or savory nibbles like nuts and olives. In addition to holding beverages, wine and margarita glasses can double as serving vessels for fresh fruit salads, frosty sorbets and chilled seafood cocktails.
Table linens help set the mood for summer dining. Options can be as understated as a crisp, white cotton tablecloth and napkins or as exuberant as a colorful paisley, geometric or floral print. To create visual contrast, mix solids and patterns or combine linens of different textures, such as a quilted cotton tablecloth with wicker place mats.
Summer’s bountiful gardens inspire colorful table decorations. Floral arrangements are often casual and spontaneous, showcasing whatever is in bloom. Display a bouquet of just-picked flowers in a rustic earthenware pitcher, or use bud vases or tumblers to hold individual blossoms or newly cut herbs at each place setting.
For dining after sundown, illuminate table settings with candles in varying shapes and sizes—from tiny tea lights and votives to dramatic pillar and taper candles. To create a natural look, place candles in bowls of sand, seashells or river pebbles. Nautical-style table lanterns bring the feel of the seaside to your gatherings yet won’t extinguish in the breeze. For ambient outdoor lighting, group patio torches around your dining area.
Images: table setting (williams-sonoma.com), colorful glasses (surlatable.com)
June 17th, 2009 |
Whether you are the hostess of a child’s birthday party or just trying to out-do yourself for your next play date, I have the perfect idea for you from Parent’s Magazine!
Make your snack table come alive with a few simple steps (and delicious treats)! Cover a table with butcher paper and paint it into the cutest buffet ever. Plan out your masterpiece according to your bowls and platters. Pizzas make great wheels, silicone cupcake liners work perfectly as caterpillar cookie stands, carrot sticks are colorful for sun rays. You get the idea…..get creative and plan your “landscape” and menu together!
June 17th, 2009 |
Let your kids cool off during the dog days of summer by hosting a Surfin’ Pool Party!
If you are lucky enough to live by an ocean – plan your party for the beach! For those of us that are a little more land-locked, find a local pool to host your party.
Invite your guests with this darling invitation from Tiny Prints. Request that your guests come wearing beach theme clothing – Hawaiian print swim trunks or shirts, sundresses, flowers in the girl’s hair.
You can really have some fun decorating for this party….have your kids help you prop up surfboards, and stuff wetsuits to make faux-surfers. Turn beach towels into tablecloths, have a surfing video playing on the TV in the background, and popular surf music playing to get everyone in the mood. Looking for suggestions? Reggae music or anything by The Beach Boys would be perfect!
If you plan on having this theme party at home, check out these great wall decals from Target. The surf boards would be darling on a wall behind the birthday cake!
Disposable paper goods are definitely the easiest way to go – so check out these supplies at Birthday in a Box. All that’s left? The perfect party favor! Fill up small canvas beach bags with candy, an inflatable beach ball and little toys. Make it easy on yourself by ordering them thru Birthday in a Box, too!
Images: surfing kids (coastalliving.com), surfboard cake (carriesellman.com), colorful drinks (bhg.com), food table (pbkids.com), cute swim trunks (bodenusa.com)
June 16th, 2009 |
It’s rare that I feature a party geared towards men. Nothing against them – but I think it’s safe to say that most of them don’t appreciate the type of attention to detail women put into party planning! However, all men deserve a special party now and then…..so whether you are planning a fabulous Father’s Day, a pre-wedding gathering, or a 40th birthday party, here are a few ideas to plan a summer golf outing:
- Course Selection – Budget limits, tee time availability, location, club amenities, and players’ ability should drive your decision on course selection. Considerations should include: course difficulty, carts, caddies, and bag carry options, course/clubhouse capacity, availability of locker room with showers, club and shoe rental options.
- Spread the word – Before you send out your actual invitation (I absolutely love this invitation from Tiny Prints – it’s the perfect balance of fun and masculinity!), you may want to send out a save the date card or an informational e-mail to get an idea of how many people are considering attending.
- Registration – The registration area is one of the most critical components of any golf outing. It sets the tone for the entire day. The registration table should be set up in a highly visible location and should have some sort of festive decor. Depending on the size of your event, the table should be manned up to two hours prior to the scheduled arrival time of your guests. Ensure that adequate personnel will be available to maintain a smooth flow of traffic, keeping the registration area moving effectively.
- Speed of Play – Maintaining an adequate speed of play is an important aspect in ensuring a successful golf outing. Slow play is annoying to other golfers and can disrupt the timetable for other planned activities. This can be managed by correctly pairing the members of your group by playing ability, or by choosing a format of play that produces timely rounds.
- Shot Gun vs. Tee Times – Listed below are the advantages and disadvantages of the two standard formats for golf outings.
- Shot Gun Starts
- Shot gun starts permit all group participants to start and finish at the same time. This allows the group to remain together for other events.
- The entire group arrives at the banquet facility at one time.
- Can be scheduled for the early afternoon, allowing participants to get in a full morning of work.
- Speeds up play.
- Tee Time Starts
- Allows for a variety of starting times to suit golfers needs.
- Can maximize outing capacity (up to 220 players between 8 am and 1 pm)
- Flexibility allowed for guarantees on group size.
- Contests – Contests can be an enjoyable source of entertainment for your players. However, don’t overload your event with too many contests….they can slow down play. Here are some suggested contests:
1. Longest Drive
2. Skins Game
3. Closest to Pin
4. Putting Contest
5. Nearest to the Line
6. Mulligan Sales
8. Flying Lady
9. Beat the Pro
10. Blind Partner
- The 19th Hole – After 18 holes of golf, your men will be ready for a relaxing break! Plan a lunch (you could even invite spouses that didn’t play to join in) at the course’s clubhouse that includes a buffet of sandwiches, salads and buckets of cold beer! Create simple, yet festive centerpieces for the lunch tables by using glass cylinder vases in different sizes. Fill them up with golf balls, limes, candles, sand….get creative! Dress up dessert by serving golf-inspired cupcakes!
Images: golf ball centerpiece (theknot.com), golfer and bucket of golf balls (inmagine.com), , golf accessories cupcakes (cleavercupcakes.com)
June 15th, 2009 |
Add a little fizz and some retro fun to your next party with a soda bar!
Whether you decide to use old-fashioned soda pop (available in a variety of flavors – all with fabulous vintage logos on the bottles) or the modern day versions – choose a variety of colors and flavors and prominently show them off. The colorful bottles can act as decorations for your party too!
Keep the bottles refrigerated until right before the party starts, and then arrange the bottles by color on a table. Add a bucket full of ice, a stack of cups, and for those wanting to drink right out of the bottle – brightly colored plastic straws!
I think this idea would be darling for a child’s birthday party, an outdoor BBQ, or even a casual, summer wedding.
Images via Project Wedding
June 14th, 2009 |
Fresh tomatoes = one of the best parts of summer! Incorporate ripe, juicy tomatoes into your everyday meals with these fresh ideas.
- Tomato Tart (via Southern Living)
- Two Tomato Linguine (via Southern Living)
- Tomato Feta Salad (via Southern Living)
- Campanelle with Tomatoes and Feta (via Bon Appetit)
- Tomato and Bread Salad with Deep-Fried Chicken Bites (via Williams Sonoma)
- Grilled Tomatoes with Basil Vinaigrette (via Southern Living)